NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Certain crimes disproportionately affect women both in Nashville and nationwide.

According to data from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, in 2016, 99 percent of forcible rape victims in Nashville were women or girls.

Seventy-two percent of kidnapping victims, 87 percent of stalking victims, and 62 percent of intimidation victims were women or girls.

Women are also much more likely to be victims of domestic violence. In Nashville, 18 women or girls were murdered in 2017, many because of domestic violence.

While 18 female victims is far less than the 89 men or boys killed in Nashville in 2017, it is double the number of women killed in 2016.

As Nashville continues to grow in population, News 2 asked Police Chief Steve Anderson about his advice how women can stay safe.

He said, “Being aware of your surroundings, your circumstances, I don’t think we can emphasize that enough, and that’s not just women, that’s everyone. That’s something I do. I’ve been in on this job for 40 years and I carry a gun, but I’m still aware of my circumstances no matter where I am.”

When asked if women should carry a gun, Chief Anderson responded, “You know, that’s a personal choice for anyone, man or woman. So, I don’t suggest it, and I don’t discourage it. What I do say is for people that do carry guns, is carry them in a responsible manner. In other words, always knowing where you are and having control of them and not leaving them laying around, not leaving them in cars unattended.”

Despite the high number of murders in Nashville in 2017, over the past 20 years, Nashville has seen a steady decrease in other serious crimes. The number of robberies, burglaries, and aggravated assaults has all trended downwards.

According to Chief Anderson, “If you go back to 1997, we had 59,000 or so Part 1 crimes.”

Part I Offenses, as defined by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting guidelines, include homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, and auto theft.

In 2016, 32,648 Part 1 offenses were reported to Metro police, which is more than 25,000 less than 20 years prior.

Chief Anderson explains what has led to the significantly fewer Part 1 offenses, even with a rising population.

He said, “1997 is where we started changing this department from a reactive police department to– in other words, we’re waiting for the call, and we’re going to go investigate and take a report– to a proactive police department, putting people on the street to look for crimes that are about to occur.”